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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: February ::
Andrew Jackson, Coriolanus, et al
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0386  Wednesday, 26 February 2003

From:           R. Schmeeckle <
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Date:           Tuesday, 25 Feb 2003 10:31:25 -0800 (PST)
Subject:        Andrew Jackson, Coriolanus, et al

THE PASSIONS OF ANDREW JACKSON by Andrew Burstein, reviewed in today's
NYT by Richard Brookhiser, contains the following interesting statement:

"... he sums up Jackson as a variant of Coriolanus, Shakespeare's tragic
hero.  Like Coriolanus, he was a 'proud, anguished, absolutist,' but
unlike Coriolanus he identified with common people instead of scorning
them, for he saw the people at large as 'meaner versions of himself.'
The people repaid the compliment by seeing themselves glorified in their
hero.

Bernstein considers Jackson in the grip of "a dangerous kind of
self-love," mistaking "his own ceremonial pronouncements of his love of
virtue for genuine self-worth."

The reviewer extrapolates that delusion to the nation, claiming that
aristocracy breeds pride in its ruling class and asking whether
democracy breeds it wholesale.

Roger Schmeeckle

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